Up to Doug Brent's Papers on Rhetoric and Composition

Creating an Academic Community of Discourse
in the Classroom

Materials Presented at the
The Annual Presidential Workshop on Teaching and Learning and Writing Across the Curriculum

Laurentian University
May 1, 1996

Doug Brent
Faculty of General Studies
University of Calgary


I have adapted this method from Russ Hunt and Jim Reither at
St. Thomas University, Fredericton NB.  A lot of the theory
comes from Jim's article:   "Writing and Knowledge: Toward
Redefining the Writing Process."  College English 47 (1985):

The general principles are these:  Knowledge is made, not received. 
It is made communally, not individually, although there are
long passages of individual effort.  It is driven by particular
goals, not abstractions and certainly not tests. The object of
this particular environment I create is to make the artificial
environment of the classroom replicate as much as possible the
kind of community of discourse in which people really make
knowledge together.  

I do this by having the entire class work toward a collectively
authored and published (by photocopy) collection of essays on
the topic of the course.  Almost everything they know about
this topic by the end of the course has grown out of the
reading, writing. responding and talking activities that
surround the making of this book.  They get a lot from me, in
the end, but only by picking my brain when they have a reason
to pick it.  I am constantly meeting with groups and
individuals in the classroom, in my office and on e-mail,
prompting, suggesting, answering questions, even
"lecturing" for five or ten minutes to a group of three or
four, on a point that's come up in the context of the activity.

We begin by reading several texts in common and then using the
various writing prompts attached to this handout to explore the
texts themselves and to try out several ways of working
together on texts: 

1. Full collaborative writing followed by individual editing.
2. Individual writing edited together via word processor.
3. Collaborative planning of oral presentation (either one
   person delivers the whole or it is done in relays.
4. Electronic conferencing that gradually leads to a shared    

All of these texts are shared with the class either by being
photocopied, read aloud, or read on the BBS.  The idea is to
establish the vital component of any discourse community:
shared experience.

Then they move to the other vital component: bringing more
knowledge into the pool than any of them, including me, could
have put there individually.  This means researching individual
but related topics and sharing the results in provisional
texts, oral reports, and finally in a photocopied book that
everyone takes home, reads, and comments on.

In all of this, it is vital that students feel that they are
being read.  I always require that others read and respond to
every text, partly because the responses help improve the text
but mostly because they prove to people that others are paying
attention.  (How much effort would you put into a scholarly
publication that you knew would be read by no-one except your
editor?  Conversely, how much of a warm glow to you get when
someone writes you to say, "I read your piece on xyz and here's
what it did for me'?)

When they come to the final project, I frequently cancel formal
classes.  However, I am always there in the classroom, and most
of the groups turn up much of the time to talk to me or to each
other.  The rest of the time they are leading foraging parties
to the library or my office bookshelf, or are parked in the
microlab or the coffee shop.  (Russ Hunt, lucky stiff, gets to
hold his class in a room in the library!)

This I feel is a very important part of the system.  Students
find it almost impossible to get together because of
conflicting schedules.  This type of learning is also extremely
time intensive.  To make it work, I have to turn over the whole
job of teaching to the group activities rather than tacking
them on to a course in which I teach directly at people.  The
scheduled class time becomes a protected haven of synchronous
time during which they know that the whole group will be free. 
This requires a lot of faith that students really will learn
what they need to learn this way.  I am seldom disappointed.

Russ and Jim do it a bit differently, spending more of the
class time on brief reading/writing assignments (called
"Inkshedding" by those of us that do it.)  Inkshedding is sort
of like freewriting but carries it farther in that texts are
always exchanged and responded to, often published in the
class, sometimes incorporated into longer works.  Whichever way
it goes, texts tend to be cumulative instead of being flushed
out for the next one.  Bits of people's first-week texts tend
to filter their way into the final product.

Grading is always difficult in a system like this.  I use the
"process mark" described in the attachments to generate a mark
that reflects the learning that has been going on rather than
one-time-final projects.  This is risky, and I chicken out by
giving individual marks for some parts.  Russ and Jim give
nothing but a process mark.

A recurrent problem is the tension between effort and product. 
Sometimes students bust their buns for months, genuinely learn
more than they would have in three other courses, and turn out
a mediocre product at the end.  If I so much as give them A-
they're up in arms.  I may try Russ and Jim's approach one

This system in all its glory obviously works best with a
relatively small class because I  spend so much time talking to
groups one-on-one, getting them out of the jams I've let them
fall into.  With a larger group the projects would have to be
somewhat less challenging because they would have less
opportunity to be helped out of their jams.  Next year I plan
to try variants of this with a class of 400.  Wish me luck.

The rest of this document contains samples of handouts given to
students in one course in which I use this method:
Communications Studies 461, History and Applications of


Doug Brent                                University of Calgary

               COURSE OUTLINE

This course will examine rhetorical theories from ancient to
modern times, with particular emphasis on how modern
researchers have used various aspects of rhetorical theory to
inform our understanding of present-day discourse.  It will
involve no lectures and few formal classes or assignments. You
will read a lot, write a lot, and talk a lot about rhetoric and
how it is used, mostly to each other and only secondarily to
me. I will be there as coach, guide, advisor, mentor-but seldom
as supplier of The Truth.

The emphasis of the entire course will be on collaborative
construction of knowledge through an ongoing research project.
An escalating series of short texts will culminate in the
production of a slender book that has been researched, written,
and physically produced by the class.

We will start by establishing a shared base of knowledge by
reading several of the classics of rhetorical theory.  We will
also experiment wnh producing various kinds of collaborative
documents. Then groups will begin to explore their own research
projects, wnh plenty of opportunity to exchange ideas wnh other
groups and present their findings to each other. Sometimes
there will be no formal class: the time will simply be used to
give groups a common time to meet. Much of the work will also
be done by electronic conferencing.

I will try to keep the workload reasonable: there is no final
exam and I will  provide opportunities to meet during class
time. However, last year's students reported that although they
liked the course and learned a lot, it took a lot out of them.
Missed classes will not be tolerated (by your fellow students--
it won't hurt me.)  Drop this course now if you are not
prepared to take responsibility and keep up with a
tightly-organized schedule. 

Ungraded Assignments

Many pieces of writing and oral reports will be treated as
"works in progress" and will receive no formal grade, although
I will usually read them and sometimes comment on them  These

At least four short texts on individual rhetorical figures 
Two oral presentations of work in progress
Edrting and commenting on other groups' drafts

Graded assignments                                                       

Short paper (individual): 15%  
Final project chapter (group mark): 35%
Your colleague report (individual): 10%                                  
Process Mark: 40%

Process Mark: This is a bit like a participation mark, but
carries a lot more meaning because it's more structured.

In a "real research communny" such as the university, the
people who contribute most are the people who show up at
meetings, take on work, get things done, and most important,
make a contribution to other people's learning by sharing good
ideas, reading their work and commenting on it, making useful
formal presentations at conferences and informal ones in the
bar afterwards. Some of these people get acknowledged on the
"acknowledgements" pages of other people's books; others get
acknowledged by being promoted, or maybe just well-liked.
Usually they also get acknowledged by being saddled with more

Accordingly, the "process" mark will be based on how much you
contributed to the entire process of making this class work.
Part of this is simply doing the job. I will keep track of
attendance at all occasions when attendance is called for, and
how regularly you turn in assignments on time, show up with
work done, produce real work when called for (as opposed to
just scribbling a few perfunctory remarks to be able to say
you've done so), et cetera. In short, I will watch out for
whether you support your colleagues or let them down. A
complete and serious effort at participation will guarantee a
process mark no lower than C. Missed meetings, late assignments
etc. will drive it lower. I may take pity on students with
doctor's notes and such, but in this class as in Iffe, when
others are depending on you it's hard to excuse work not done.
Others just have to pick up the slack and go on without you.

The other part will be based on others' "colleague reports"
written during the last week of term.  This information will be
used to raise marks above the minimum C.
This report is not a report on how well the other members of
your team have been helping out, though that could be part of
it.  It is a report on which members of the class have
contributed most to your personal intellectual growth during
the course.  This could include:

1.  Members of your own team who you learned the most from by
virtue of their contributing useful material, useful editing
suggestions, etc. etc.  This is not quite the same as "worked
the hardest," although it is of course related.  The relatively
quiet person who occasionally contributed the perfect gem of an
idea as a result of her reading and learning could have given
you more insight than the eager beaver who did all the data
entry.  Look for people who were particularly helpful in
organizing the oral reports, in singling out the right kind of
material from the tidal wave of research data that you were
swamped with, etc.
2.  Members of other groups who gave particularly useful advice
on your drafts, including material that goes all the way back
to the first part of the course.  Did someone in another group
pinpoint exactly what your draft needed to make it better, as
opposed to making vanilla-flavoured positive comments?   Did
someone e-mail you the exact idea you needed to get your mind
in gear?
3.  Members of other groups whose presentations or whose
collective written products were the most helpful to your own
understanding of modern rhetorical theory.
This is not an opportunity to report on people who you felt did
not contribute.  Just keep silent on those who did not
contribute to your learning.  This will all come out in the
I will produce a brief report on each individual class member
giving a course grade and attempting as far as possible to
justify it.  I will also supply an interim progress report
before the withdrawal date, and you will receive one formal
mark on an individually-prepared paper. But you should not take
this course ff you feel the need to know "where you stand"
numerically at every moment.

Textbooks:  You will be required to buy a slim book of
photocopied readings (available in the bookstore).   Be warned
that there will be a substantial amount of
photocopying--perhaps $20 - $30 worth--required during the
course of the term, as you will be making multiple copies of
much of your work. You may also have to pay for a University
computer connection ff you intend to collaborate over e-mail
from home (highly recommended), but this should be quite cheap.


                           Detailed Schedule  

Part I: Establishing a Shared Knowledge Framework

Sept. 6:  Organization session: form "Preliminary Groups" of
          about 4 students each.  Background mini-lecture on
          classical rhetoric, Plato, Aristotle.

          Homework for next day: read Lunsford and Ede,
          "Collaborative Writers at Work"

Sept. 11: Meet in classroom.  Discussion of collaborative

          Workshop: produce a brief collaborative document (a
          paragraph or two) in which you compare the
          experiences discussed by Lunsford and Ede with your
          own experiences of collaborative writing and
          collaborative learning.  This will be Text 1.
          Homework for next day:  
          Elect one person from the group to edit, type out
          and photocopy enough copies of Text 1 to go around
          the class, including me.  (This should encourage you
          to keep it short).  Include the name of everyone in
          the group, with the editor clearly identified.

Sept. 13: Meet in classroom.  Distribute, read and discuss
          collaborative documents (Text 1).  In groups, write
          a brief response to another group's document and
          give it to them.
          Homework for next day:  Read the selection from the
          Gorgias and write a brief draft text explaining what
          you think is most significant about it for the art
          of rhetoric.  This will form the basis of Text 2
          next day.  If you want to save yourself a lot of
          work, prepare this draft in Word Perfect 5.1 in the
          microlab or elsewhere.  Save your preliminary drafts
          to hand in as part of the portfolio.

Sept. 18: Meet in GNST microlab.  Edit your texts together
          into a single document (Text 2).  Elect one member
          of your group to polish it and photocopy enough for
          the entire class.

          Homework for next day:  Everyone read all the
          Aristotle material.

Sept. 20: Meet in classroom.  Circulate, read, discuss,
          respond to Text 2.

          Divide up study questions on Aristotle (to be
          distributed separately) and produce notes for a
          short formal presentation on your question.  Figure
          out where you are having trouble understanding the
          material and discuss how you might go about solving
          these problems. Elect one member of your group to
          deliver the presentation next day.

Sept. 25: Meet in classroom.  Short oral presentations on
          Aristotle study questions (Text 3), and discussion.

          Homework:  Everyone read Burke.  Carefully.

Sept. 27: No formal class.  Instead, work in groups by
          electronic conferencing over the next week to
          discuss Burke section by section.  Get your first
          posting up by 4:30 Sept. 29.  I will be in the
          Microlab from 3:00 to 4:30 to help people who get
          stuck with the computer.  

          By Oct. 2, each group should have a substantial
          chain of discussion culminating in a collective
          statement about Burke.  One person from the group
          should act as facilitator to bring the comments
          together into a single brief document, which will be
          the last in the chain (Text 4).  This should be
          posted by Oct. 2.
Oct. 2:   Meet in GNST lab and read your own final documents
          and those of other groups.  Post a comment on at
          least one other document.  Once you've read the
          comment on your document, adjourn to classroom and

          These four preliminary texts together (two written,
          one oral, one electronic) will form a "portfolio" on
          which I will base a brief progress report.  It will
          *not* be a formal mark--your mark will be based on
          your overall performance throughout the year--but it
          will give you an opportunity to get some feedback on
          where you stand and whether you're meeting

          Form groups and choose topics for your final project
          chapter.  See below for suggested topics.

Part II:  Collaborative Research on the Uses of Rhetoric

Oct. 4:   Meet in class.  Begin working on stage one of major
          project--a short literature review paper discussing
          one journal article related, or possibly related, to
          your topic.

Oct. 9:   Thanksgiving.  Give thanks for a breather.

Oct. 11:  No formal class.  I will be in the classroom to act
          as mentor/advisor/shoulder to cry on.  I advise
          groups to meet and discuss what each other is doing,
          but you don't have to.

Oct. 16:  Meet in class.  Draft of lit review due.  Bring 5
          copies of your paper and distribute them to the
          other members of your group.  You probably won't
          have time to read them through at this point, but at
          least talk about them, plan some strategy, and be
          prepared to report briefly to the class at large
          about similarities/differences in your material.  If
          you can come up with useful questions for further
          investigation and a research agenda, so much the

          Get formal feedback from at least one member of your
          group on your draft.

Oct. 18:  Final draft of lit review due by 2:00.            No formal
                                                            class, but I will be there and this would be a good
                                                            time for your group to get together, compare notes
                                                            and continue to divide up the task, get started on
                                                            your final project chapter.  If you want to do this
                                                            by phone or e-mail, or meet at Dinnie's, go ahead. 
                                                            You will have to do a lot more than figure out how
                                                            to stick your lit reviews together in a row in order
                                                            to produce a good product!

Oct. 21:  No formal class; use time to meet if you wish.  I
          will be present again as advisor.

Oct. 25:  No formal class, as above.  This would be a good
          time to plan oral progress reports.  

Oct. 30:  Meet in classroom.  Brief oral progress reports from
          groups.  You are expected to be present to give
          useful feedback, oral and written, to the other
Oct. 31:  Meet in classroom.  Oral progress reports.
          Drafts of project chapter due.  Meet in classroom
          and bring enough copies to distribute to one other
          group and to me.

Nov. 1:   Meet in microlab and compose collective responses to
          other group's drafts.  Each individual should come
          (1) having read the other group's draft, and (2)
          with some notes toward advice on the draft.  By the
          end of the first hour or so, print off advice,
          exchange, discuss.

Nov. 6-20 No formal class.  Scheduled group meetings with me
          to discuss drafts. Use the rest of the time to work
          on revising chapters, preparing formal oral report,

Nov. 22:  Meet in class.  We will discuss format of final
          project (to make sure that all of the chapters will
          have a similar look when put together), and the ins
          and outs of desktop publishing.  One member from
          each group will be responsible for co-ordinating
          Final oral reports to class from groups.  You should
          be present to present feedback and form an audience.

Nov. 27:  Meet in class.  Final oral reports to class from

Nov. 29:  Meet in class.  Final oral reports to class from

          Final drafts due.  Groups hand in enough copies of
          project for the entire class.  Do not bind them.  We
          will stack them together and each student can bind
          his or her copy as a unit.

          Homework:  Read the entire class project from cover
          to cover.
Dec. 4:   Meet in microlab.  Be prepared to work up a short
          collaborative text on what you have learned about
          rhetoric that you did not know before, based on the
          project that you have now read.

Dec. 6:   Exchange reports composed on Dec. 4.  General
          discussion of project.  I will return written
          responses and formal grades on each group's section
          of the project.

          Hand in your "Colleague Report" (see "Grading"). 


                   Suggested Topics for Final Project

[Note: In the original form distributed to students, this
handout contained "starter" bibliographies for each topic and
suggestions on useful journals, indexes, etc. ]

Chapter 1:  The Debate over Aristotelian Tradition and Modern

Is rhetoric in the classical tradition really a useful basis
for writing and speaking in the 20th century?  The debate gets
quite heated; watching Knoblauch and Lunsford spar it out is
quite entertaining..  

Chapter 2:  The Sophists Revisited

How do the ancient sohists compare with modern theories of
discourse when not looked at through Plato's eyes? This is an
inquiry into epistemology as well as into humanistic education.

Chapter 3:  Rogerian Rhetoric

"Rogerian" rhetoric is a form of rhetoric based on Carl Roger's
counselling thoeries.  It emphasises co-operation, empathy and
healing rather than confronation.  It is highly controversial
and some claim that it is not a "rhetoric" at all, but it still
holds scholars' interest.

Chapter 4:  Discourse in the Workplace.

Rrhetorical processes create and recreate the "community of
knowledge" that characterizes a work environment.  Some of this
work, such as Ede and Lunsford's, is empirical.  Other work
draws on sociological concepts such as those of Anthony
Giddens, who argues that knowledge is rooted in social action.

Chapter 5:  Technical Writing.
This topic overlaps somewhat with the first but focusses more
on technical rather than general business writing.  Here, too,
there is a really interesting mix of empirical and
philosophical articles.  Even if you haven't the slightest
interest in engineering it's amazing how interesting this stuff
can be.

Chapter 6:  Writing in Academic Disciplines

Every discipline has its own topoi and its own ways of
constructing knowledge.  This topic explores how rhetorical
interchange can be a mode of intellectual inquiry.

                 Writing/Discussion Prompt 1 (Sept. 11)
1.  Opening activity.
Each person in the group writes a short passage (a paragraph or
so) describing the most important overriding impression of
collaborative writing derived from the chapter on Lunsford and
Ede.  What do you remember most about the chapter?
If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, start reading it
now.  Underline "important" passages.  Trade papers among the
group and read each others'.  Are there any common themes?
One spokesperson for the group will report to the class on the
common themes in the group.
2.  Closing activity.
Write a brief report (the final product should be a half to a
full page of single-spaced typing) that answers the following
How much of Lunsford and Ede's descriptions of professional
collaborative writing accords with your experience of writing
thus far, either professionally or academically?  If so, why? 
If not, why not?  What in your writing environment made your
writing experience come out like, or unlike, those of the seven
people L & E describe?
Work together on the project to decide what ideas should go in
it, how each should be worded, etc.  Get as far into the
project as you can by 3:50, then go home.  Elect on member of
the group to take the material, type it up and make 24 copies
to distribute next day.  Each copy should bear the names of
each member of the group with the "editor" clearly identified.
Work together on the project to decide what ideas should go in
it, how each should be worded, etc.  Get as far into the
project as you can by 3:50, then go home.  Elect on member of
the group to take the material, type it up and make 24 copies
to distribute next day.  Each copy should bear the names of
each member of the group with the "editor" clearly identified.


                 Sept. 13:  Writing/Discussion Prompt 2

1. Distribute Text 1 (the texts on collaborative writing that
   you started in class on Sept. 11 and typed up at home). 
   Everybody in the class should have a copy of each of the
   six different texts. 

2. Read all six texts.  Then collaboratively devise a response
   to ONE other text.  Groups 1 and 2 respond to each other, 2
   & 4, 5 & 6.

"Respond" means a lot of things.  Look for things you agree
with, disagree with, can add your own stories to, etc. 
Feedback on things that are unclear can also be useful.  

Produce a few lines of (more or less legible) response and give
it to the group you are responding to.  They will pass it
around and read it.

3. Break.

4. Each group will report on the texts and the processes by
   which they produced them and the responses to them.

5. HOMEWORK to do betwwen Sept 13 and Sept 18

At home or in the microlab, prepare a brief draft text
explaining what ideas in the Gorgias for the art of rhetoric. 
What does Socrates say that strikes you as important,
interesting (or ridiculous)?  Why?  Does it say anything about
the process of collaborating to produce knowledge?  (Maybe it

Aim for a half to a full page of single-spaced printout.  Use
WP5.1 if you can (just to save retyping).

You will meet in the GNST Microlab (SS 203) at the beginning of
the Sept 18 class with your texts in hardcopy (enough for your
group: 4-5 copies)  and on diskette.  We will work on editing
them together into collaborative documents--Text 2.


                       Writing/Discussion Prompt 3

1.  Sept 18:  Meet in the GNST Microlab, SS 203

You will all have brought a short text explaining what you
think is most significant in the Gorgias for the art of
rhetoric.  Exchange these texts and read them in order to find
one or more arguable propositions about the Gorgias that might
be the basis for a coherent short paper on "The Significance of
the Gorgias."  Note that the paper is not about your process;
it's about the Gorgias.

Write the paper as a group.  Use as much as you want of what
people have already written, but don't be afraid to throw
chunks away.  Aim for a complete text by the end of the two
hours, but if you have to, appoint another editor/cleanup
officer.  This will be Text 2.

Make 26 copies to distribute Wednesday. 

2. HOMEWORK between Sept. 18 and Sept 20.  Read all of the
Aristotle material.

3. Wednesday Sept. 20:  Circulate, read, discuss, respond to
Text 2.

You can decide whether you want to appoint a single
spokesperson or divide the job up somehow or other.  Everybody
should spare no time and trouble to find out what an
"enthymeme" and a "syllogism" are.  Use the resources on the
reserve list and anything else you can find.

Group 1:  Aristotle defines Rhetoric in a number of different
ways.  Bring these definitions together and explain what
rhetoric is, to Aristotle, and how it differs from "dialectic."
Group 2:  Compare Aristotle's "worldview," especially his
attitude to truth and probability, and compare it to Plato's. 
Why does he think argument will uncover truth?

Group 3:  Aristotle systematically divides up the territory of
rhetoric along a number of lines, including the three means of
persuasion, the three types of oratory, the three ends of
persuasion, etc.  (Aristotle loved threes, but watch out for
fives and twos.)  Chart out his divisions of rhetoric and
explain why they might (or might not) be helpful.  What are the
key differences between the divisions of rhetoric in his time
and ours?

Group 4:  Aristotle makes a big deal out of the various
emotions (pathos), cataloguing them extensively.  On pp. 55-56,
you have a little snippet of this section, relating to
friendship and enmity.  How is this section organized, and what
is the point of cataloguing the emotions in this kind of
detail?  Do you find it useful?  Why/why not?

Group 5:  At the beginning of the Rhetoric, Aristotle claims
that we must not "pervert the judge by moving him to anger or
envy or pity."  Later he discusses how to raise emotions such
as friendship and enmity.  Do you see a contradiction here? 
How have rhetorical scholars explained it? 

Group 6:  On pp. 57-66, Aristotle lists 28 "real" and 9
"spurious" lines of reasoning or topoi.  What exactly are topoi
(Greek for "topics") and how might a rhetor use them?  Do you
see any differences between the real and the spurious ones?

                     Writing Prompt 4: Kenneth Burke
The job is to use an electronic conferencing system to generate
a short text about Burke.  It will be somewhat like generating
the text on Gorgias except that you never have to see each
other in person.  (Whether or not this is an advantage will be
up to you to decide.)
Between Sept. 25 and Sept 27:  Everyone read all the Burke
material, although you may want to concentrate on the specific
passages referred to your group.
Sept. 27:  I will be in the Microlab for the full class time
(2:00-4:00) to help people who get stuck with this.  But you
don't have to be physically there--you can be in Tahiti as long
as you get a posting up by the deadline.  (I will be merciful
on the technologically challenged).
Log in and go to your group meeting.  Try a few junk messages
to get the feel of it.  Then post a short text that addresses
your group's section of Burke.  
Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 3.  Be prepared to log in at least
once a day to read and respond to the postings that others have
left for you.  (If you live off campus and don't have access to
a computer with modem, you are forgiven the weekend.)  Use the
"reply" function to make comments on other peoples' postings
and explore the question as thoroughly as you can.  Go and do
extra reading if you need to--volunteer or delegate readings as
needed, and use them to help you make more suggestions.  Try to
arrive at a coherent text with a thesis.
Feel free to "visit" other groups, offer advice and
encouragement, borrow ideas, etc.  In particular you may want
to consult with other groups discussing adjacent sections.
Appoint someone who will be responsible for writing the final
posting.  That person should be able to bring together all the
responses into a text and post it, labelled "Final Posting." 
Oct. 3.  Meet in the Microlab and read your own final document
(if you have not already done so) and those of the other
groups.  Use the "reply" function to post a comment on at least
one other document.  You can do this individually, not as a
group.  Hang around the lab until you have had a chance to read
a few comments.  Adjourn to classroom and discuss.   
                             Burke Question
What does Burke offer that is genuinely new and different from
Aristotelian rhetoric?  Each group take a portion of the
selections from A Rhetoric of Motives and explore it for new
and interesting implications about the role of rhetoric in
society, the nature and definition of rhetoric, the nature of
language, etc.. (Yes, this is a deliberately vague question. 
You need to narrow and focus for yourself.)
Use the introduction in the Bizzell collection and the chapters
on Burke in Golden and Foss for guidence.  However, there is no
substitue for good old-fashioned slogging through the material
several times over.
Group 1:  "Identification" and "Identification and
Group 2:   "The Identifying Nature of Property."
Group 3:  "Identification and the 'Autonomous,'" and "The
'Autonomy' of Science." 
Group 4:  "'Redemption' in Post-Christian Science" and "Dual
Possibilities of Science.
Group 5:  "Ingenuous and Cunning Identifications" and "Rhetoric
of 'Address' (to the individual Soul)."
Group 6:  "Rhetoric and Primitive Magic" and "Realistic
Function of Rhetoric."